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The Country of Blinds / Learn to Talk (Digital Version)

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Album Review

Two years later, the second and final album from the duo-now-trio of guitarist Fred Frith, cellist Tom Cora, and harpist Zeena Parkins is in some ways harsher (put that down to two more years of Reagan), and more rhythmically prominent, with tracks born more out of beats and pieces than melodies. The lyrics still focus on the byproducts of modern society — the oppressed and the (morally) blind tales of people who can't see out of their dilemma, "everybody waiting for a little sign," as Frith sings in "Bingo," to get them out of their situation. The second half of the album dissipates until restless noodling in search of a composition, yet the first half contains "(Step Across) the Border," one of their strongest tracks.

Customer Reviews

Unexpected find on iTunes

The only reason I know about this band is because I am a big fan of the music of Fred Frith, and RIO/Avant Prog music in general. I owned the vinal of the two (and sadly only two only released by Skeleton Crew). If you like Fred Frith, or the other bands he s been in - Henry Cow, Art Bears, Aksaq Maboul, etc..., you'll like this one

Semi unlistenable today

I remember when this stuff came out.. Sometimes it sounds like the equivalent of Karl Marx writing on a chalk board.. Leftist screechy dialectic art rock.. It does take me back, though.. They just don't make music like this anymore.. Times are not the same.. If I was in NYC in the early 80's I would be hanging around this music rather then snorting coke of club girls' bellies in a disco..

Oh how I wish I'd listened to more of the previews

I heard "Zach's Flag" on a compilation and went looking for the source, hoping for more incredible instrumentals like that. Somehow I missed all of the dreadful grating vocals when I scanned the previews. So, so awful. Goodbye, $18. :(


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

Skeleton Crew was a two-album project from ex-Henry Cow alternative guitarist Fred Frith and experimental Bay Area cellist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Cora. Formed as a duo, the two (occasionally augmented by Zeena Parkins on keyboards and harp) toured extensively with a combination of experimental rock, noise, and folk music, even playing one concert of nothing but Eastern European folk tunes. On stage, both musicians operated drums with their feet, while busying their hands with various stringed...
Full Bio
The Country of Blinds / Learn to Talk (Digital Version), Skeleton Crew
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Customer Ratings